Your novel is about to be published and you just googled ‘Promoting a Novel”. Then you became dizzy and disoriented reading all the articles. Novelists have an especially difficult time weeding through advice on book promotion because most is for nonfiction. Here’s a hint: fiction writers can build on their uniqueness. More
You’ve written a novel that’s been published — traditional, small press, or indie — HOORAY! And you launched. Now you’re watching the sales numbers and offering to do blog tours and readings. What else? How to build buzz for your debut novel? You look at author websites and see pitches for freebies and long lists of books. You see bestseller list mentions, excruciatingly gorgeous blurbs from famous authors, and you might feel a little perplexed as to how to promote your single, debut novel lacking those supports.
Build Buzz? A Catch-22
It can be a Catch-22 for debut authors. You can’t get on Bookbub unless your book is already selling well. You can’t get on a bestseller list as an unknown without a major publisher swinging some weight behind your debut. You’ve heard that the first few months of a book’s debut can make or break its success, but you’re counting on a slow build. So what’s a debut author to do?
- I have a two-word answer: LITERARY FRIENDS. Make literary friends. Make lots of them. Join groups. There’s power in groups! Become part of the writing community and contribute to the conversation, however you best can. It’s fine to be a newbie and simply be in a group and appreciate others’ wisdom. I’ve joined quite a number of authors and writer groups, and I love being part of them, but especially these:
Women’s Fiction Writers Association
Authors18 – Novelists with Debut books publishing in 2018
National Novel Writing Month
Build Buzz Through Groups
In my Authors18 group, we support each other’s book launches, promotional posts, book tours, events, and reviews. It’s a group of dedicated, supportive, and fun writers who are all excited and suffering over their first novels being published. This is not a journey to take alone! If you’re going to have a debut novel published in 2019, a group is already forming. And look for more groups of this kind. The social media book buzz alone is worth it!
My Women’s Fiction Writers’ Association is a true tribe. We write on similar themes, range from writers seeking publication of a first novel to novelists with many books to their credit. And that makes the conversation fascinating and diverse. We have several Facebook WFWA member groups, some focused on craft, some on publishing, and some on writing every day. Like NaNoWroMo, it can give you the experience of being surrounded by fellow writers who are friends and fans, who will see you through the dark days, help build your buzz, and cheer you on.
Build Buzz Through Promotions
Basics of Building an Author Platform
More on paid promotions in another post. For now, build your book buzz in good company of other writers, book reviewers, and readers! And let me know if you have tips on this. I’m still learning!
That’s perennial question, along with its corollary: Should writers be sane? Or is crazy really better for the work. If there’s one thing that drives every writer and poet I know crazy it’s the topic of publishing. Publishing is like hunting dragons — you’re not even sure they exist, you know you need some magical arrow that’s not in your quiver, and really you don’t have a killer’s heart. Especially the poets. It’s such a contradiction to be the introvert who grew up turning inward, turning to the page, and be expected to do things like:
* Give readings
* Build an author platform (my brother the musician built himself a backyard stage — I wish building my platform were that easy!)
* Doing (getting) interviews
* Contributing to the writing community by giving of your (nonexistent) time and energy
And all the other recommended author stuff. Having just completed a final-ish draft of my novel, I again read all the books and articles. They all say: Become an extrovert! Reading these lists, I feel slightly overwhelmed. I just want to stay here on my deck, ignoring the beautiful view of trees waving their branches in a soft breeze, ignoring the birdsong that spills out like Mozart improvising, and write words that take me into my own imagined world, where I imagine being a lot of people I’m not. How crazy is that.
|GODS OF WATER AND AIR – A NEW DISCOUNT!|
At first I didn’t want to make one. Then I did. Then I really didn’t, once I started putting together a script for a video that was to be no more than two minutes long (plus or minus), and trying to figure out what kinds of images, and whether still or moving, and what the voiceover should be. I wrote a bad script, pulling pieces of poems into a narrative whole. It stank. Then I couldn’t find music or figure out how the music would work with the voiceover. Then I couldn’t get my microphone to work well.
I watched a lot of book trailers, read some good advice from Erica Goss, and then went with what appealed to me most in the trailers I watched: a reading of one poem. Diane Lockward’s blog on this topic, with examples, helped me decide. Free photos can be had at Wikimedia, and free music at several sites. And then there’s Sandra Beasley’s blog about making a book trailer poetry video. Sandra Beasley is brave.
Then I was lucky enough to find a video editor! I have to say that just recording my own voice and picking sounds and images and text was all I could manage. Garageband totally defeated me. I recommend getting an expert to put it all together as a video! Stay tuned for mine.
It’s a one-to-one affair, a very personal exchange, selling a poetry book of your own. I like that it is so personal, that you have to think about the work and that you’re sharing it with each person who gets one. It’s a way of making new friends, reconnecting with distant friends, and having a silent conversation with readers. One of the things that dazzles me is when someone tells me about a poem I wrote they really loved, and why it knocked them out. Those are things I carry for years, and carry into my new poems. It’s an immense privilege to write and exchange these deep parts of yourself with someone else’s deeper self. I know where every book I’ve personally sold and inscribed is now, and it’s a great feeling. Thanks for reading.
Don’t forget that poetry books make good holiday gifts, and my special offer makes it extra economical: $11.50 direct from me, signed, shipping included. Beat that, Amazon! Email me if you’d like a copy and I’ll tell you where to send a check, or send a Paypal to: firstname.lastname@example.org.